A Year of Printing Photos

A year ago, I made it a goal to print more of the photos I make. Prints, books, calendars — whatever. As long as they were physical things living in the real world, like photos used to be.

So far, it’s gone well. I made a photo book looking back at 2013 last January, and just received my book for 2014. I also signed up for Snapfish’s mobile app that lets you order 100 prints for free each month. All you do is pay $5 or so for shipping.

I use my local photo printer, too, to print film shots, and produce the high-quality 8x10s I can frame and give to family members.

What can I say? I’m old school.

And I miss the feeling of flipping through photo albums. I printed photos religiously from high school through college, and have albums full of memories from that period of my life. It’s a personal history. I cherish those albums.

But in the digital age, prints have been few and far between. So I meant to fix that, and after a year of printing photos, I’m happy with my decision.

Now that I’m doing more film shooting, getting prints is a natural step, too. For every roll of film I drop off, I get the prints and the images scanned on CD.

I don’t have a good organizational system just yet, but I’m okay with that. A simple photo box full of prints is good enough for me.

As a side benefit, I can print photos of friends and give them out the next time I see them. It’s a little gift from me to them, and it didn’t cost me a thing except a shutter click. I also order photo calendars for my family each Christmas, full of photos from the past year. They look forward to the calendars each holiday season.

There aren’t many excuses these days for not printing your photos. Flickr is printing, VSCO will soon be printing, Apple and Snapfish let you get creative with your photo printing projects. Most of this you can do right from your phone.

As for the cost? As Chris Plante says in his Verge article:

Is this worth the money? For me, yes. Absolutely. God, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me having these photos of the people and places I love.

So $5-7 a month for memories that won’t get lost when a hard drive crashes? That’s an easy budget line.

Especially for someone as digitally old fashioned as me.